RE: who the characters are, it’s a little complex.
The original kernal starts with the characters in the Teot books.
There’s friends of mine who really like thse characters. One of these friends, besides being a long long-time sf & f fan, is a doll-maker, a doll collector. She found one quite unique guy she knows quite well is going to suck my brain away into bjd-land so quick you won’t even hear the vaccuum pump going. (She’s right, too.) She named him Dance of Knives, the translation into English of Naga’s name. Eventually she decided he should come to me, which still astonishes me.
Some writers collect art that reminds them of their characters, or make their own, some people make costumes, or collect toys that remind them of their characters. Some people find or make dolls that look like their characters. People do a lot of work to make or find dolls that look like Cloud from Final Fantasy, for instance. The writers who do this with these resin dolls call it endolling, or embodying, your characters.
Some people come at it from the other end. They get a doll and they get a sense of the back story gradually as they work with it. As with writing various other kinds of fanfic, people write stories about their characters as if they’re real human people (or elves, or vampires or etc.) and develop back story that can be elaborate when the original germ was just a bald resin artwork that provoked some kind of spark in their minds.
An external presence like that has an interesting effect on how you view characters that were originally completely interior, completely imagined.
If one listens attentively to the inner imaginary dialogue about such a piece of artwork, just as you do with fictional characters, you get the sense of distinct opinions and preferences, just as for characters in a story. you get push-back. You get the refusal to do what they’re supposed to, all that.
You also get some other odd effects, such as, “If I have a doll that looks something like my internal image of Naga, but not precisely, what sort of clothes should he be wearing?”
After all, it might take years to make the kind of custom gear that a true Naga representation would require. It’s just not standard stuff.
So there he is, sitting around on a shelf in jeans and a t-shirt, and the interior dialogue is quite lively. You can hear that doll-character asking if you’ve got that guitar for him yet, he wants his music.
He’s really more like a modern guy, an actor, who can play that guy Naga, but that’s not all of who he is. That was another, past life. He’s here now, doing modern things. Which was all I thought was happening to begin with, silly me.
Then I got some other resin folks, who developed their own back stories and connections with who Dance is now.
Turns out there’s layers like an onion to it. When I started picking up some odd comments that ran away off into some truly bizarre sf terrain, hey, it’s 30-minute fic, why not see where it goes? Do some world-building, see how my interest in other people’s characters and back-stories interacts.
It’s been running away off to some really strange places, as it turns out…
from a comment I made on the post You Get to Explain Later, Right?